|Positives: An elegant exterior, solid mileage numbers in four-cylinder trim, plenty of storage space, great crash test ratings.|
|Negatives: Underpowered and unrefined four-cylinder, mediocre brakes, no standard backup camera, not much in terms of technology.|
|Bottom Line: The Chrysler 200 is a good car in a segment full of better choices. That is its biggest downfall. It doesn't offer anything that the others don't, and it's a very competitive segment. Driving characteristics are good but not mind-blowing and the base engine is a little wimpy. This car would be much more enticing with the available 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which is worth the couple extra grand in our opinion. It's probably all irrelevant, though, since FCA plans on killing the 200 very soon.|
Recently, we had the chance to spend a week with a Chrysler 200 Touring to see how this car truly stacks up to the competition. Although we would have liked to test out the V6 variant, we felt it gave us a good idea of what this car is all about.
In terms of performance, the Chrysler 200 is okay. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine could use a little more power, but overall, it does a decent enough job. It sure grumbles a lot, though. The engine's complaining can be heard in the cabin easily. The 9-speed automatic transmission was prone to issues in earlier versions of the 200. However, we experienced no issues, and it seemed to shift smoothly and easily. Though the chassis is pretty good, most of the competition offers a more engaging drive, especially when you look at cars like the Mazda6, the Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion. We’d be willing to bet that the V6 in this car makes things at least a little more interesting.
Ride Quality: Ride quality is good. The 200 soaks up the bumps well and offers smooth cruising.
Acceleration: The 2.4-liter engine works hard to get you up to speed but the car is by no means fast.
Braking: The brakes are progressive and offer decent pedal feel. We’d prefer it if they were a little stronger.
Steering: The steering is heavier than we expected and reasonably precise. It’s not as good as the competition, but it’s certainly not bad.
Handling: The car handles well in the corners. You do get some body roll but it’s not terrible. It’s enjoyable but few would pick this car over something like the Mazda6.
The Touring version of the 200 we had wasn’t exactly packed with tech features. It lacked many of the amenities that modern car shoppers are looking for. The technology in the car functioned well. In fact, the car’s simplicity actually made it easier to get used to than some of the vehicles we’ve recently driven. Still, we’d suggest adding some options or upgrading a trim level or two to get the better infotainment system and a backup camera.
Infotainment System: The small screen displayed all of the relevant information easily. The issue with it is that there weren’t many features.
Controls: The 200 comes with plenty of buttons but not so many that you feel like you’re in a Buick Encore. Everything is easy to use and well laid out.
Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone proved to be a simple task and reconnecting upon reentry easy.
Voice Call Quality: Calls were clear on both ends and we experienced no issues.
From a styling standpoint, the Chrysler 200 does its best to present an elegant face to the world. While Chrysler tried to conceal the 200’s ties to the Dodge Dart, there’s only so much the company could do. You can still see the Dart’s influence under the styling of the 200. That being said, the car isn’t bad to look at, and the styling is cohesive all around the vehicle. We've gotten polarized statements. Some love the look, others absolutely hate it.
Front: The front fascia is fluid, if not truly eye-catching. The headlights taper into the grille, and there are no straight lines to speak of. It's the same face as the new Pacifica minivan, only less dramatic. It could use something with a bit more personality, really.
Rear: The taillights and Chrysler badge are the main eye-catching features on the rear of the car. The trunk lid curves up and makes the rear appear larger and taller than it really is.
Profile: From the side, the car has a clean look with few things that catch the eye, save for the chrome around the windows and the low crease by the bottom of the doors.
Cabin: The cabin has a kind of flowing and simplistic look with some accent lighting and a lot of buttons. The plastics on the dash and center console are on the cheaper side, and the cloth seat pattern doesn’t really work with the rest of the cabin’s aesthetic.
The Chrysler 200 features a simple and elegant cabin, and although it’s spacious and well laid out, it isn’t an extremely comfortable car. We assume upper trim levels of the vehicle would come equipped with better seats and more amenities, but the model we had was pretty stripped down. That being said, the cabin isn’t a bad place to be.
Front Seats: The 6-way, manually-adjusted seats provide adequate support but little bolstering. They were nice to sit on in traffic. Take the car on a curvy road, however, and you shift around quite a bit. The cloth on the seats was tough and not very soft. We expect it would hold up over time, which is nice. Leg, hip and head room were plentiful.
Rear Seats: The rear seats are clad in the same material and are supportive and spacious. Leg, hip and head room are no issue in the back seats as well. The rear seats sit low to the floor of the car and some may feel like their knees are too high.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Chrysler 200 is pretty quiet but the engine grumbles and groans. It’s easily heard in the cabin. There's also some tire noise. Otherwise the car feels solid and well-put together.
Visibility: Seeing out of the car is easy all around but would be even better with a standard backup camera.
Climate: The climate controls are extremely easy and the system does a fantastic job of cooling off or heating up the cabin.
Chrysler didn’t skimp when it came to safety. The 200 is a very safe midsize car. It received a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. The only test that it did not receive five stars for was the rollover test. For that it achieved only four stars, which is still better than many vehicle out on the road. It earned high marks because of the available accident avoidance tech, which our tester did not have.
IIHS Rating: The IIHS awarded the Chrysler 200 a Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Standard Tech: Electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, brake assist, security alarm and tire pressure monitoring.
Optional Tech: None.
The Chrysler 200 Touring does a pretty good job when it comes to storage and cargo space. There are multiple spaces in the cabin as well as a generous trunk. Although other cars in the segment offer plenty in terms of storage and cargo space too, this is one area that Chrysler isn’t behind in.
Storage Space: There’s a reasonably large space underneath the armrest for everyday carry items and there’s also a shelf beneath the center stack controls. The glove box is adequate and the door pockets reasonable. Overall, the 200 isn't lacking in terms of cubbies and bins.
Cargo Room: The 16 cubic feet of cargo space isn’t massive. It's on par with the competition, and it should be plenty for most people and most situations.
The 2.4-liter mill beneath the hood is one of the more economical engines in a midsize car out there. The EPA estimates that the 200 will get 23 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. We were in between those two numbers at the end of our week. We could see achieving those numbers easily as long as you don’t have a lead foot all the time.
Observed: We saw an average 26 mpg in the car over the course of seven days.
Driving Factors: We drove both in the city and on the highway, with more time spent in urban areas.
The 4 -peaker audio system lacked a lot of range and only offered limited volume. It was fine for most situations but if you really wanted to pump up the tunes, you’d be a underwhelmed. The system isn’t very robust in terms of entertainment features. Luckily you can connect via Bluetooth and play whatever music app you want to that way.
Overall, the Chrysler 200 Touring isn’t a bad car. It’s reasonably attractive, comfortable and easy to live with. The problem is that there are so many good cars at or close to this price range that offer a little more in terms of driving enjoyment and interior features. Bargain hunters should keep an eye out for some serious buying incentives for the Chrysler 200, as they may be able to pick one of these rides up for a song since it's going the way of the dodo in 2017.